Imagine you are walking into a cave and traveling further and further inward, where no light can reach the inner most spaces. Suddenly, light illuminates your path and you begin to see a series of rooms, natural springs, and a variety of cave paintings on the walls and ceilings. As you observe the paintings, you realize the story told by people from years past, depicting a way of life through a visual display of images.
Even long ago, visual displays were used to communicate thoughts and ideas to others. Sometimes, just as in the visual displays on cave walls, pictures are the best way to tell a “story” where narrative words may not be sufficient. It still remains true today that “graphics are one of the most important aspects of data analysis because they allow us to visualize the data and the patterns in the data” (Dietz & Kalof, 2009, p. 66). Such is the case in statistics, where displaying data is critical.
In this week, you will examine the different ways to display data and understand why visually presenting data can illustrate the “story” of the data. You also will begin to create your own visual displays of data to further your knowledge and skill set.
Evaluate the different ways to display data
Create visual displays of data
Analyze data from datasets
Discussion: Displaying Data
Visual displays of data provide you and anyone else with a graphical display of what is often a complex array of quantitative data. A key strength of visualization is the ability to quickly enlighten you with key data. Rather than solely relying on your audience to interpret numerical values and statistics explained in a narrative, a visual display can easily illustrate descriptions, relationships, and trends. Although the focus is on simplicity, the researcher has an obligation to present these graphical displays in a clear and meaningful way.
For this Discussion, you will explore ways to appropriately display data.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Review the Learning Resources for this week related to frequency distributions and graphic displays of data.
Using the SPSS software, open the General Social Survey dataset found in this week’s Learning Resources.
Next, create a figure or table from a few selected variables within the dataset.
Finally, think about what is good about how the data are displayed in the figure or table you created and what is not so good.
By Day 3
Post your display of the table or figure you created and provide an explanation of why this would be the best way to display the data provided.